Given the recent instability of immigration rules under the Trump Administration, legal permanent residents are highly advised to become naturalized U.S. Citizens in order to enjoy the full protection of their Constitutional rights. As a legal permanent resident ("green card holder"), you may seek to become a U.S. Citizen, which is one of the most important decisions in a person's life. You not only accept the responsibilities of being a citizen, such as supporting the United States, its Constitution, and its laws, but you are also rewarded with all the rights and privileges of being a citizen.

There are many pathways to obtaining a green card initially, such as marriage to a U.S. Citizen, EB-5 Immigrant Investment, sponsorship through an employer (EB-2 or EB-3), or self-petitions. If you are unsure which path to U.S. Citizenship fits your situation, please contact us for assistance.

Benefits of Becoming a Naturalized Citizen:

  • Voting in Federal elections.
  • Petitioning for family members to migrate to the United States.
  • Obtaining citizenship for children born abroad.
  • Traveling with a U.S. passport.
  • Becoming eligible for Federal jobs.
  • Becoming an elected official.

Maintaining Your Green Card:

After becoming a legal permanent resident, one can lose the green card through one of the following ways, but most commonly by failing to comply with the continuous residence and physical presence requirements:

  • Taking trips outside the United States that last six months or more.
  • In most cases, you must have at least 30 months of physical presence in the United States.
  • In most cases, being out of the country for one year or more will break your continuous residence.
  • If you leave the country for one year or longer, you may be eligible to re-enter as a Permanent Resident if you have a Re-entry Permit, but none of the time you were in the United States before you left the country counts toward your time in continuous residence.
  • Failing to file an income tax return.
  • Being arrested or convicted of a crime or failing to show good moral character.

Re-entry Permit (Form I-131):

  • If you have significant travel plans that exceed six months, it is highly recommended that you apply for a Re-entry Permit to allow you to re-enter the United States without being asked to give up your green card.
  • For many EB-5 Investors, this is a necessary step if you require additional time to wind down your businesses or manage certain assets.

What is the Naturalization Process?

  • Select an attorney that focuses primarily on U.S. Immigration and Nationality law.
  • File Form N-400 to the correct USCIS Service Center with the accurate fees.
  • Receive biometrics notice, generally four weeks after filing date.
  • Take biometrics appointment, generally two months after filing date.
  • Mail additional documents if USCIS requests them.
  • Wait for USCIS to schedule your interview, generally four months after filing date.
  • At the interview, take the English and civics test and answer questions about your background.

Taking the Oath

  • After passing the interview, you will receive a ceremony date, generally six months after filing date.
  • You will attend the ceremony, take the Oath of Allegiance, and receive your Certificate of Naturalization.

USCIS and Legal Fees:

  • Current Naturalization Fees are $725.00, including biometric service fee (fingerprint).
  • For competitive legal fees, please contact one of the attorneys listed below. Attorneys also speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, among other languages.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.